American Cancer Society

Partners and Programs in the Spotlight

It seems obvious that the American Cancer Society would be a frontrunner in the fight against HPV cancer. However the Society probably isn’t the first organization that comes to mind when immunization programs list their partners. Established in 1913, the American Cancer Society is the largest voluntary health organization in the United States and is dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health concern through research, education, advocacy, and service.

The Society’s Cancer Control Department supports the delivery of health care provider resources and programs as well as professional development and training opportunities worldwide. The Society also brings extensive experience in evaluating programs and a wealth of expertise in monitoring and interpreting population-based and study outcomes related to cancer control and prevention. It is this unique set of capabilities that allows the Society to work across the fields of cancer prevention and immunization to support HPV cancer prevention activities, especially with clinicians.

Debbie Saslow PhD, Director of Cancer Control Intervention for HPV Vaccination and Women’s Cancers for the Society, is the principal investigator on two cooperative agreements with CDC to increase HPV vaccination. Dr. Saslow is no stranger to prevention of HPV cancers, as she served as the director of breast and gynecologic cancer at the Society for 18 years and has been instrumental in the development of the Society’s recommendations on HPV vaccination. Recently the Society updated their HPV vaccination recommendations, and Dr. Saslow stated “It is critical that all the stakeholders here—families, health care providers, and others—make HPV vaccination a priority, so that prevention of the vast majority of cervical, vaginal, vulvar, anal, penile, and oropharyngeal cancers can become a reality.

The joining of those stakeholders became a reality in 2014, when the Society and CDC created the National HPV Vaccination Roundtable. The HPV Roundtable is a national coalition of more than 70 public, private, and voluntary organizations, as well as invited individuals, dedicated to reducing the incidence of and mortality from HPV cancers in the US, through coordinated leadership and strategic planning.

The same year, the Society started the HPV VACs (Vaccinate Adolescents against Cancers) Project. The VACs project expands current cancer prevention and early detection activities with FQHCs to increase HPV vaccination through improved provider awareness and education and improved system-wide processes. Additionally, the Society partners with state health departments and other state-based entities to facilitate system changes that increase the availability and utilization of the HPV vaccine.

Collectively the two projects have a number resources that you can access to improve the work you and your partners are doing to improve HPV vaccination rates. The HPV Vaccination Initiative Contact Map provides contact information for various HPV vaccination initiatives. This map provides a visual display of U.S. HPV vaccination uptake initiatives/interventions that is public and searchable by state, organization and project type. The HPV Roundtable Provider Training Task Group just launched a publicly accessible website for their HPV Vaccination Resource Clearinghouse, where resources can be found to support the implementation of strategies to increase HPV vaccination. The Clearinghouse features Patient Education Tools and Provider Education Tools, including printable educational materials, vaccine information statements, toolkits, and multimedia to increase HPV vaccination awareness and uptake. The HPV Cancer Survivor Organization Database provides access to HPV-related cancer survivors, who have a unique voice in the HPV cancer prevention dialogue. Inviting a survivor to tell his or her story at a meeting, grand rounds, conference, or other event can be a powerful addition to your program or presentation.